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Health and Safety Enquiring Begins North of the Border
Posted by David Cant on April 5, 2011

The National Audit Office Report Highlights Serious Flaws

The BBC has reported that a massive scale health and safety investigation is to take place in Aberdeen.  The news comes after the National Audit Office report showed that there were a large amount of workplace accidents costing around £187m last year alone.  This is far higher than in England and Wales.

The report also highlighted the fact that there were a lot more cases of serious injuries and far more fatalities in the workplace than in the UK.  The House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee announced the details of the inquiry. The MPs will be looking into whether the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is doing all that is within its power to bring the figures down to a more manageable figure.

Is Scotland at Higher Risk?

Another goal of the inquiry is to ascertain whether Scotland’s higher injuries are down to more high risk jobs in the area. Scotland has a large amount of people working in agriculture. Agriculture does count as a high risk industry when it comes to health and safety.  On 30 March 2011 the HSE published a press release stating that a farmer had been prosecuted for serious safety breaches after an employee suffered injuries caused by a fall from height. These types of accidents are all too common in agriculture and also within the construction industry.

Ian Davidson spoke to the press about the situation. The Scottish Affairs Committee chairman said that he was hoping that the investigation would be extremely thorough. He wanted to make sure all of the hazards were looked at which were found in Scotland.  He also stated that the Committee was hoping to work closely with the HSE and the industry and come up with a solution to help lower the toll.

HSE Cuts May Affect the Figures

This investigation into Scottish health and safety comes hot on the heels of the leaked news that the HSE was facing up to 35% cuts. These cuts will alter the amount if unannounced visits which will be made to low risk working environments.  The Scottish Affairs Committee Chairman did comment on these possible cut backs. He is unsure what effect they will have but he is hoping to assess the effect in full during this enquiry.

The cuts which were leaked in a letter said that three of the main industries which posed the most risks would not be affected by the cuts.  These include nuclear and chemical industries.  It also mentioned that some other industries would still have unannounced checks; however it is uncertain as to what these sectors may be at this time.

Contact our team of consultants on 0800 1488 677 to find out more about health and safety in the workplace.


David Cant is a Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner extraordinaire. He has a wealth of Industry experience and is the MD of Veritas Consulting. David also Blogs about Health and Safety here Health and Safety Consultants

His aim is to flavour Health and Safety with integrity, served with a side of humour You can find David on - Twitter and Google also Linkedin

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